Monday, September 3, 2012

Gyokusendo Cave, Okinawa - National Treasure

It is the longest among the many caves in the south of Okinawa Island, and the second longest cave in Japan. Out of its 5 km, only 890 m are open to the public. There are over 1,000,000 stalactites in this cave, the largest number in Japan. It is well maintained, and the walking paths are well lit. The temperature is 21C inside, and the water temperature is 17C all year.

There is a board at the entrance: "stalactites grow quickly, 1mm per 3 years." Surprisingly quick! I like this very much in Japan - one can learn a lot just by reading the information posted everywhere. Like, names of birds and flowers. I once found a whole list of tree names in a public toilet. That is lovely.










The name of the cave in kanji - Gyokusendo:






















化石 kaseki is fossil. And 石 ishi means stone.

 



There is a bone of a deer extinct 15,000 years ago. In the northern part of the country, there is less information in English. And I noticed many bilingual signs in Hokkaido - Japanese and Russian. Though, the message is somewhat clear even from the nice drawings always there. Like this deer and a bone.


















The largest stalagmite in Japan - 2.5 m high. With 1 mm per 3 years, imagine the time required to form such wonders.














"Gathered Drapes - It is rare to see this shape hanging from the ceiling and we are very proud of it." We, so typical Japanese. I am always impressed with their feeling of patriotism. "It takes about 200,000 years to grow to this scale."








An aquarium inside the cave - Japanese people love fish so much. Though I have seen one aquarium inside Postojna/Postojnska Cave in Slovenia. They have a rare fish there, the human fish. A trogloditic amphibian.












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